The Top 10 Countries for MBA Salary Levels

The best countries for MBA salary

This was originally published in October 2013. For the latest version of this article, please click here.

There are many advantages to studying an MBA, and not just in the prospects of growth within the MBA job market or career versatility. The generous MBA salary packages enjoyed by recent graduates are among the most celebrated of these, as are the prospects of further growth in this department.  

There are, of course, large variables in the global market, the consequence of which is that MBA salary levels are considerably higher in certain leading economies than they are in others.

So, for those looking for the highest MBA salary levels, here is a list of the top 10 countries for MBA salary and bonus levels based on the QS TopMBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2013/14.

Top 10 Countries for MBA Salary based on the QS TopMBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report


In the Asia-Pacific market, Australia remains a key player and boasts the top average compensation for MBA jobs at US$133,100. While average salary levels are much lower than in Switzerland, this is made up for with big bonuses averaging over US$15,000. The strengthening of the Australian dollar plays a part in this. But the key factor is the competitive market, which seeks to hire the finest multinational MBAs from leading business schools across Asia, meaning that employers are prepared to pay out to secure the best graduates.


At a time of austerity in Western Europe, Switzerland saw a slight decrease in MBA salary, but continues to head up the European tables, with average remuneration standing at US$129,700. This average rate is a reflection of the strengthening of the Swiss currency, but more importantly is due to the relocation of many multinational company’s headquarters, away from places like London or Frankfurt, to Switzerland in order to reduce corporate tax bills and this has led to an increased requirement for MBA graduates in the country.


Second in the Western European market, Denmark reports consistently high MBA salaries and is the first in this list to present an increase in overall compensation, which averages at US$121,400. Unlike Switzerland, tax rates are much higher in Denmark but interestingly this year corporate tax has been cut from 25% to 22%, slightly below the UK’s current rates. This can be read as part of a drive to make the country more appealing in the global business market, the result of which will be the creation of MBA jobs as well as improved salaries.


Businesses in the UK continue believe strongly in the value that MBAs bring. Accordingly, it stands fourth in the world for MBA salary levels (US$106,100). This confidence seems justified. In the service sector, MBA recruitment is seen as a considerable factor in the dominance of the industry in UK economy. Banking however, which also remains central to British economy, is still yet to regain full momentum in terms of MBA hiring in the post-crash world. The UK’s position on the global business education stage means that the value enjoyed by those who work there is also shared with those who have studied or gained some experience in the country.



The MBA market in France has been in decline over the last decade. It is no longer in the top 10 list for the total number of MBA jobs. Despite this, employers in France offer an average overall MBA salary and bonus of US$100,800 to their MBA employees, meaning that it stands at fifth in the world. Average salary levels in France actually exceed the UK’s if bonus levels are discounted.


MBA demand has been pretty flat in North America, but there are outlooks of up to 16% growth over the next year according to the QS TopMBA.com report. This is seemingly due to the renewed confidence in economic recovery. This is echoed in Europe, which means the potential for renewed demand for MBA graduates from employers across the globe is high next year. However, looking to the present, despite the slowdown in growth, MBA salary levels in the country remain high, standing at US$98,300. It would not be a surprise to see an increase in employee incentives and salaries accompanying next year’s predicted surge in interest.


In recent years there has been an upsurge in the growth of MBA job opportunities in Latin America, with Brazil and Mexico leading the change. This year Brazil saw a growth rate of 14% and a corresponding average compensation level of US$97,200 as employers in the region continue to utilize MBA graduates as key assets in the competition to internationalize their respective companies. It seems they are more than willing to pay out for graduates’ valued skills.


Although MBA salary levels in Germany are significantly lower than that of Switzerland, coming in at US$93,700, this is not necessarily representative of an equal lack of demand. Rather, this is due to the fact that more MBA employers in Germany are hiring internationally from Asia and the Indian subcontinent reflecting the German economy which thrives on the demand for German goods in Asia. Subsequently demand for Asian MBAs to join German companies and vice versa in order to maintain strong global, money-making relationships, is high.



Hit hard by austerity, Spain has seen a 16% contraction in the demand for MBA jobs this year but remains in the top 10 for overall MBA salary and bonus levels which sit at US$92,900 on average. There is good news on the horizon for MBA job availability though, with a forecast of 6% growth in demand in 2014. We can expect this to be reflected in future salaries.


Lastly is Canada with an average overall compensation of US$91,600. Along with the US, Canada is forecast to see a 16% growth in demand for MBA graduates which will see a huge shift in hiring confidence from both local and international companies. Big employers are recovering from the dip in the economy, particularly in the financial services, and are keen to hire new MBA graduates. This will undoubtedly lead to increased wage prospects and career progression.

Written by Mansoor Iqbal

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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